Mexican Air Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mexican Federal Air Force
Seal of the Mexican Defense Secretary
Seal of the Mexican Defense Seceretary
Founded June 19, 1913
Country Mexico
Allegiance Mexican Secretary of Defense
Branch Air Force
Size 11,770 personnel
410-570 aircraft
Motto(s) Honor, valor and loyalty
Colors Red, White, Green
Anniversaries February 10
Engagements Mexican Revolution, World War II, Chiapas Incident
General Manuel Víctor Estrada Ricardez
Roundel Roundel of Mexico.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack PC-7, PC-9M
Embraer R-99
Fighter Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter
Interceptor Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter
Reconnaissance C-90A King Air, Sabreliner 75A, Fairchild C-26, 727-200,
Trainer Pilatus PC-7
Transport DC-9, Arava, An-32, 727-200

The Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Mexicana or FAM) is the aviation branch of the Mexican Army and depends on the National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA). According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, it has 11,770 men, 107 combat aircraft and 71 armed helicopters, nevertheless, the global fleet is composed of more than 390 aircraft. [12] As of 2005, its national commander is Gen. Manuel Víctor Estrada Ricardez.


The Curtiss aircraft Sonora was used for observation and bombing. Mexico, 1913.

The official predecessor of the Mexican Air Force was the Army's Auxiliary Aerial Militia Squadron (Escuadrilla Aérea de la Milicia Auxiliar del Ejército), created during the Mexican Revolution on April 1913 by the Secretary of War and Navy General Manuel Mondragón, who authorized pilots Miguel Lebrija and Juan Guillermo Villasana to bomb targets on Campo de Balbuena, in Mexico City.

On February 5, 1915 the leader of the Mexican Constitutionalist Army, Venustiano Carranza, founded the Arma de Aviación Militar (Military Air Weapon), which would become the current air force. Its first commander was Lt. Alberto Salinas Carranza.

In 1925, due to the shortage of airplanes caused by World War I, Mexico set up the National Aviation Workshops (TNCA) to design and build its own airplanes and aeroengines. When Colonel Ralph O'Neill was hired to revamp the Mexican Air Force in 1920, he reported to General Plutarco Elias Calles that most of the aircraft available had to be replaced since they were obsolete and worn away. Therefore, Mexico acquired some British Avro 504K and Avro 504J airplanes, which later would be made in Mexico with the name Avro Anáhuac. In addition, in May 1920, Mexico acquired thirteen twin-engine bombers Farman F.50.[1]

Mexican pilots.
Mexican military aviation pioneers.

Between the years 1923 and 1929, Mexico found itself immersed in a wave of violent territorial, religious and military armed rebellions, which required the Mexican Air Force to quickly deploy its forces and provide air support wherever the federal army requested them. Some of these conflicts, that were decided mostly by the assertive use of the Air Force, are mentioned below.

On December 7 of 1923, ex-President Adolfo de la Huerta launched a military coup (delahuertista rebellion) against the government of President Alvaro Obregón. The situation was extremely critical, because along with de la Huerta, about 60% of the army revolted, including various high-ranking generals across Mexico. The power tilted back in favor of the federal forces when the United States agreed to furnish the Mexican government with a fleet of new de Havilland DH-4B aircraft equipped with the Liberty motor, armed with Lewis and Vickers machine guns and able to carry bombs. The military coup was then suffocated by February 1924.

A territorial war was that of the Sonora Yaqui Indians whom demanded by force that previous territorial treaties were implemented. The conflict lasted from 1926 to 1927, and it came to an end when a new treaty was implemented.

When President Plutarco Elías Calles pushed for the creation of the ‘Mexican Apostolic Catholic Church’, independent of Rome, it unleashed a widespread religious war known as the Cristero War. This long civil war lasted from 1926 to 1929.

In May 1927, while General Obregón seemed keen to impose the presidency to General Calles, General Arnulfo R. Gómez launched a military coup against both Obregón and Calles. His command posts were located in the cities of Puebla and Veracruz, where he led approximately 200 federal deserters, ammunition and weapons. The air force played a key role in their defeat.

Then, on March 3 of 1929, a serious military coup took place, lead by General José Gonzalo Escobar and heeded by various other generals. In these days, the air force's remaining airplanes consisted of worn and shot Bristol F.2 Fighter, Bristol Boarhound, de Havilland DH-4B and Douglas O-2C, a force that was not suitable to defeat Escobar's power.[2][3] In this context, the Mexican government convinced the US government to promote the peace south of its border and quickly make available twelve new OU-2M Corsair with the 400 hp Wasp engine, nine Douglas O-2M, four Stearman C3B and six Waco Taper Wing. Only two weeks after making the request, the US government agreed, and several Mexican pilots travelled to Brownsville, Texas and New York to pick up the new aircraft. The key victory was decided in late March 1929 at the Battle of Jiménez, Chihuahua, where after several days of air raids, Escobar was defeated by General Calles, taking about 6000 prisoners.[4] This rebellion was quite serious, since a third of the officials and nearly 30,000 soldiers rebelled; in two months, more than 2000 men had been killed.

In May 1938, the Governor of San Luis Potosi, General Saturnino Cedillo, declared himself in rebellion and President Lázaro Cárdenas travelled there to personally mount the campaign against the revolt. The Air Force organized a mixed fleet of 17 aircraft that included some new V-99M Corsair, engaging the enemy assertively when spotted. Cedillo quickly realized he had no chance in open fields against the air force and ran to the Huasteca Hills, where his men dispersed, abandoning him.[5]

World War II

Mexican P-47 Thunderbolt over the Philippines.

The Escuadrón 201, a P-47 fighter squadron of the Fuerza Aérea Expedicionaria Mexicana (Mexican Expeditionary Air Force), served in the Pacific against Japan during World War II. The 201 Squadron completed 59 combat missions on Philippines and Formosa, now called Taiwan.


A national commander under the orders of the Secretary of National Defense is in charge of the Mexican Air Force. The second-in-command is the Air Force Chief of Staff, who supervises a Deputy Chief of Operations and a Deputy Chief of Management. The Air Force divides the Mexican territory into four regions: Northwestern (Mexicali, Baja California), Northeastern (Chihuahua, Chihuahua), Central (Mexico City) and Southeastern (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas); each region is commanded by a general. The regional headquarters are in charge of 18 air bases across the country:

1 Santa Lucía, Estado de Mexico 10 Culiacán, Sinaloa
2 Ixtepec, Oaxaca 11 Santa Gertrudis, Chihuahua
3 El Ciprés, Baja California 12 Tijuana, Baja California
4 Cozumel, Quintana Roo 13 Chihuahua, Chihuahua
5 Zapopan, Jalisco 14 Escobedo, Nuevo León
6 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas 15 San Juan Bautista la Raya, Oaxaca
7 Pie de la Cuesta, Guerrero 16 Ciudad Pemex, Tabasco
8 Mérida, Yucatán 17 Copalar, Chiapas
9 La Paz, Baja California Sur 18 Hermosillo, Sonora


Air Force ranks are the same as in Mexico's Army, with the exception of generals.[6]


See also:Mexican Navy aircraft fleet

Mexico has the second largest defense budget in Latin America, spending about 0.5% GDP in its military.[7] Increasing importance has been placed within the Army and Air Force on acquiring airborne surveillance platforms, light aircraft, helicopters and rapid troop transport.[8]

For national security reasons, the Mexican Air Force does not disclose the exact type or amount of aircraft in their fleet, but it is estimated at 400 aircraft: [9][10][11][12]

Mexican President Felipe Calderón looking over the Mexican Air Force.
Class Aircraft Model In service Origin
Combat & interception jets Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter F-5E
 United States
Close support airplanes Pilatus PC-7
Transport airplanes C-130 A/E/MK1/MK3/L382G
12  United States
Antonov An-32 3  Russia
Boeing 727-200 4  United States
Arava IAI-201 12  Israel
Douglas DC-9 1  United States
Reconnaissance airplanes Beechcraft C-90A King Air 4  United States
Rockwell Sabreliner 75A 5  United States
Embraer R-99 AEW&C
Fairchild C-26 Metroliner III 4  United States
Schweizer SA2-37A 1  United States
Cessna 182 Skylane 70  United States
Maule Air M-7-235
 United States
Pilatus PC-6 4   Switzerland
Training airplanes Aermacchi SF-260 27  Italy
Beechcraft F-33C Bonanza 29  United States
Combat helicopters Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk 6  United States
MD Helicopters 530F 20  United States
Transport helicopters Bell 412 4  United States
Mil Mil Mi-2
Mil Mi-8
Mil Mi-17
Sikorsky CH-53D 4  United States
Training helicopters Bell 205
 United States
Reconnaissance helicopters Bell 205
 United States
VIP airplanes Boeing 757-225
 United States
Cessna Citation 500 1  United States
Lockheed Jetstar 1  United States
Grumman G-2 1  United States
Learjet 35A 1  United States
Aero Commander 69-5A Turbo 1  United States
VIP helicopters Eurocopter Puma
Super Puma
 European Union
Historic airplanes still in service Stearman PT-17 Kaydet 3  United States
Aircraft recently retired Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star 15  United States
Mil Mil Mi-26 1  Russia

The Mérida Initiative

External links


  1. ^ Mexico purchases Farman F.50 bombers, 1920. - Smithsonian Institution:[1]
  2. ^ The Azcarate Corsair, by Hector Davila Cornejo:[2]
  3. ^ Los Corsarios Mexicanos, by Héctor Dávila C.
  4. ^ External links to the battle at Jiménez, Chihuahua on 1929:[3], [4], [5]
  5. ^ Time magazine. June 6, 1938.
  6. ^ Ranks: [6]
  7. ^ The World Factoid, CIA : [}
  8. ^ Strategy on recent equipment purchases: [7]
  9. ^ Flota Aérea Presidencial:[8]
  10. ^ Fleet: [9]
  11. ^ Futura DTP: [10]
  12. ^ Aztec Rotors:[11]

Template:FA link

Template:Link FA